Nagpur: The General Body Meeting of Nagpur Municipal Corporation (NMC), held on Tuesday at Mahal Town Hall, was expected to hold discussions on 60 pending questions that could not be debated since the past six months for various reasons.
In today’s meeting, heated debates were held over a slew of contentious issues including ouster of traders in Sitabuldi without issuing notices, encroachment on Government agriculture land in Kachipura, Reliance Jio working, unauthorized mobile towers, whether the advertisement contents and photos probed before the hoardings are put up in city, streetlight problems in city, encroachment on city’s main roads, quality of water used in ice factories, garbage problem, women facing difficulties for lack of toilets at Kasturchand Park, 24X7 water supply scheme, problems of sanitation workers, working of e-governance agency, ‘Gharkul Yojana,’ vacant posts in different departments of the civic body and other important issues were raised by members. However, since not a single question was replied satisfactorily by the NMC Administration, the Mayor Pravin Datke was forced to repeatedly ask the Municipal Commissioner Shravan Hardikar to look into the matter seriously. On the other hand, the ruling as well as opposition members left no opportunity to bombard administration officials by shooting a horde of questions and later charges of serious nature.
At the outset, the Leader of Opposition Vikas Thakre raised the issue of large scale encroachment on Government agriculture land in Kachipura by over a dozen traders who are doing business in crores. Is it proper for State Government to protect the encroachers? The rules and regulations should be applied in unison for all the encroachments, demanded Thakre.
The State Government, in its November 2, 2015 directive, had asked the NMC to submit its report on the matter. To this, the Municipal Commissioner informed the House that the NMC will submit its report within the next seven days. The Mayor’s office will also be apprised in the matter.
Corporators Nayna Zade and Dayashankar Tiwari raised the issue of obscene advertisements put up by ad agencies and its bad effects on society and the promotional advertisements put up outside theaters. Are these advertisements taxed by the NMC’s Tax Department? was the question. The Mayor directed the Administration to come up with details of action initiated by it in the past one month and also apprise the House about the changes made in the 2001 advertisement policy.
Prasanna Borkar took the NMC administration head-on over the issue of large-scale encroachment on main roads of Prabhag 70 and its role in increased number of road accidents. The Municipal Commissioner replied that he is doubting actions of some NMC officials in the matter. The matter will be investigated within the next 15 days and the guilty will be punished. The Mayor directed to apprise the House about action taken in this regard.
Prakash Totwani dealt on a very contentious issue of quality of water served in hotels, beer bars and retail country liquor shops and has the right to carry out checks of the water. Deputy Director (Health) Dr Milind Ganvir replied that the Food and Drugs Administration of State Government has the authority to check the quality of water at these establishments. The reply of Dr Ganvir enraged Totwani and he fired another question. “If NMC has no authority to carry out checks then why the large amount of money is spent on creating awareness drives and other publicity,” bombarded Totwani and asked the Mayor to direct NMC to take up the matter with State Government for vesting the authority to the civic body.
When Satish Holay protested collection of garbage besides a water tank in Budhwari Bazaar, the Mayor directed the Municipal Commissioner to personally inspect the place and take a decision in consultation with the Corporator.
Vijay Barse, Gautam Patil, Raju Nagulwar and Alka Dalal jointly raised their voice against the working style of garbage collecting agency Kanak Resources Management Ltd and other problems being faced by citizens. The Municipal Commissioner, in his reply, said that if the members provide specific information about negligence and illegal actions of Kanak Resources then penalized action will be initiated against the company. He further said that NMC is soon going to start its toll-free number. Alka Dalal went a step ahead and charged that contractors are doling out false information against Kanak Resources.
Vijay Barse raised the issue of lack of toilets for both gents and ladies at Kasturchand Park. Replying to the question, D D Jambhulkar said that the place comes under jurisdiction of District Collector. After due approval, construction of toilets will be undertaken in the next three months.
Vikas Thakre wanted to know details of action regarding the contract awarded to Star Bus on 16.9.2013 as directed by the then Mayor. On this, the Mayor directed the NMC Administration to initiate probe by retired judge who is on the panel of State Government. On the other hand the Municipal Commissioner said that the process to hand over the services to another operator in underway. Similarly, changes are being made in transport policy keeping interests of citizens in mind. A Transport Manager is appointed to streamline the department. However, Thakre was not satisfied with the reply and hinted that he will soon approach High Court for justice.
The Leader of Opposition also raised the issue of financial irregularities in supply of wood to crematoriums by an agency named Mahesh Sales. Mayor directed the administration to seek legal advice and take further action.
Sandeep Sahare raised the issue of payment of Rs 20 lakh without floating tender for deployment of a machine to clean Chamar Nala. The Mayor directed the Municipal Commissioner to probe the matter and apprise the member about the action.
Similarly, Vikas Thakre, Yogesh Tiwari, Sujata Kombade, Vasudeo Dhoke, Pravin Bhisikar, Dayashankar Tiwari, Asmanullah Khan raised the issues of use of jet patcher machine, appointment of health posts and their utility, purchase of lie-detector test machine, problem of printing press in Prabhag No. 49 and the sound pollution it created, illegal actions by Reliance Jio, unauthorized mobile towers, and other issues.
Replies to these questions by NMC Administration sparked angry reactions from concerned members who termed the replies as unsatisfactory and far away from the truth.